Multiple cards on file with Amazon? Watch out for this policy

If you've ever purchased a recurring service or product from Amazon, you might want to take inventory of your credit and debit cards on file with the e-commerce giant.

Amazon's terms and conditions allow it to charge recurring purchases to any card you have on file, as brought to light in a recent Consumerist report.

In other words, if you sign up for Amazon Prime with a particular credit or debit card and that card expires before the subscription renews, Amazon can charge the renewal fee to "any eligible payment method [the company has] on record for you," according to the Amazon Prime terms.

These terms were brought to Consumerist's attention by a reader, Laura, who learned about them the hard way.

Laura tells the publication that her debit card was recently declined after Amazon charged a $99 Prime renewal fee to the card, which she was not expecting. Consumerist reports:

The part that took her by surprise isn't so much that Prime auto-renewed; most consumers know they're in for an annual subscription fee there, and she knew hers would renew in late September. No, the part that surprised her was the way it renewed, because Laura's Prime subscription had never been associated with that debit card.

The credit card Laura previously used for her Prime subscription had expired, Consumerist reports. So the debit card on file was charged instead.

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When she complained, Amazon promptly canceled the Prime renewal and refunded the charge to her debit card. Amazon agreed to issue Laura a credit to cover bank fees she expected to incur. Laura was nonetheless miffed.

Amazon did not respond to Consumerist's questions about when this policy went into effect or whether there's a way for shoppers to opt out, according to the publication. But as Consumerist notes, Amazon's publicly posted terms explicitly allow the company to charge an alternate card on file when a card is expired: "So let this be a public service announcement."

Visit Amazon's "Editing Credit Cards" page for helping reviewing or changing your cards on file.

Have you ever experienced a problem like Laura's? Let us know below or on Facebook.

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